The Watchman

KRMC Cardiovascular Care
In early 2018, Kalispell Regional Healthcare added a new procedure to help patients who are at high risk for stroke. The Watchman© procedure is the latest addition to an already comprehensive list of cardiac services offered by providers at Rocky Mountain Heart & Lung.

What is Watchman©
The Watchman© device is a permanent implant that closes off the left atrial appendage to keep blood clots from escaping and causing a stroke.  This minimally-invasive, one-time procedure may provide a lifetime of stroke risk reduction. 

How Watchman© Works
A healthy heart beats with a regular rhythm, keeping a consistent and organized pulse which moves throughout the entire body. It thumps in the background, flowing the blood and moving oxygen to the organs, lungs and brain. In contrast, people with atrial fibrillation (AFib) experience an irregular, usually rapid, heartbeat. The heart’s upper chambers (atrias) beat out of sync with the lower chambers (ventricles) and commonly cause an increased risk of stroke, among other serious problems. When the beat is off, blood clots are prone to form in the heart and can be released into the bloodstream often causing a blockage in the brain, or a stroke. 

The Watchman© device closes the door to the area where clots form during AFib – keeping dangerous clots out of the bloodstream and the brain. This tiny device significantly reduces the risk of stroke, eliminates the need to take daily medication for AFib patients who cannot tolerate long-term blood thinners, and offers a quick recovery.

What to Expect
The Watchman© device is implanted through a small cut in your upper leg, where a narrow tube is inserted as done in a standard stent procedure. Your doctor then guides the device into your heart’s left atrial appendage. The procedure is done under general anesthesia and takes about an hour. Patients commonly stay in the hospital overnight and leave the next day.

Please call (406) 257-8992 for more information about this procedure.